According to the National Association of Realtors® publication 'Agency - Choices, Challenges, and Opportunities', Exclusive Buyer Agency is: "The practice of representing only buyers and never sellers in a transaction. The company never lists a seller's property and thus never has a seller as a client. Agents never accept subagency that is offered by a seller's agent" (pg. 25).
Recently, a lot of traditional Agents have started advertising that they will represent buyer's. While this is legal in most states even the National Association of Realtors® warns it's members: "Buyer agency is viable method of practicing real estate, but an agent should be cautious in her approach if she is not thoroughly knowledgeable about the entire process. Agents who are used to working with buyers as seller's subagents need to be aware of the new duties and potential liabilities of buyer's agents before changing the form of representation they offer." (pg. 18).
This publication goes on to say that Exclusive Buyer Agency "Promotes a more natural relationship for agents working with buyers" (pg. 26).
In talking about an agent who tries to offer both seller agency and buyer agency it states "The buyer and seller do not have the full range of representation" (pg. 27).
Any agent who lists properties for sale is used to representing sellers and has a legal commitment to protect the sellers interest. The agent must get the highest price possible for the property.
If the Agent, or his or her agency, lists homes for sale they cannot be an EXCLUSIVE Buyer's Agent!
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How Much Home Should You Buy?
You may have heard a real estate Agent or someone else say, "Always buy the biggest home you can afford. It is a good investment and the larger the investment the larger the return on investment will be".
But is that good advice for you? Maybe, maybe not.
When deciding to buy a home the first thing you need to do is get a loan. Yes, get the loan before you shop for homes. The lender will give you a letter stating how the maximum amount they will lend you given your income, debts, and the amount of cash available for down payment and closing costs.
Now that you know the maximum amount you can borrow and what the monthly payment will be on that amount, ask yourself some questions about your "comfort level". We all have a different comfort level when it comes to debt.
Some things that affect each individuals comfort level are:
Do I worry a little or a lot about money I owe?
Am I comfortable that my job is secure and my income will be stable for the next few years?
Do I reasonably expect to have a considerably larger income in the near future?
Am I willing to change my lifestyle (travel less, eat out less often, keep our car for a few more years) in order to make a house payment?
Think about all of that and then decide what payment you are comfortable with. If it is the maximum amount the lender has stated, fine. But if it is less than that amount, then buy less home.
The new home should be a place of comfort, not a place to sit in and worry about how you are going to pay for it!
Besides, you can always "move up" later if you situation or comfort level changes.